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verb (cringes, cringing, cringed) [no object]
bend one's head and body in fear or in a servile manner: he cringed away from the blow.
• experience an inward shiver of embarrassment or disgust: I cringed at the guy's stupidity.
an act of cringing.
1 I cringe in terror every time I have to face him: COWER, shrink, draw back, pull back, recoil, start, shy (away), wince, flinch, blench, blanch, dodge, duck, crouch, shudder, shake, tremble, quiver, quail, quake; get cold feet.
2 it makes me cringe when I think how stupid I was: WINCE, squirm, blush, flush, go red; feel embarrassed, feel ashamed, feel sheepish, feel mortified, wince with embarrassment.
Middle English crenge, crenche, related to Old English cringan, crincan ‘bend, yield, fall in battle’, of Germanic origin and related to Dutch krengen ‘heel over’ and German krank ‘sick’, also to crank.
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noun (usually misgivings)
a feeling of doubt or apprehension about the outcome or consequences of something: we have misgivings about the way the campaign is being run | I felt a sense of misgiving at the prospect of retirement.
despite occasional misgivings, he was optimistic: QUALM, doubt, reservation, scruple; suspicion, distrust, mistrust, lack of faith, lack of confidence, diffidence, second thoughts; trepidation, skepticism, worry, unease, uneasiness, anxiety, apprehension, uncertainty, niggle, disquiet, disquietude, hesitation, hesitance, hesitancy. ANTONYMS confidence